The national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) was developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It gives information on food hygiene standards to help people choose where to eat or shop for food.
You can look up the ratings on the Food Standards Agency website. The scores are given at the time of the last inspection and changes may have taken place since that visit.
Premises given a rating include restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, care homes, schools and supermarkets as well as any other business where people can eat or buy food.
An authorised council officer will carry out the inspection and will look at:
- how hygienically food is handled – for example, safe food preparation and procedures including cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
- the condition of the premises – for example, cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
- how food safety is managed and documented. The officer also looks at the premises history and confidence in the management to improve and maintain standards.
Once a business has been rated, it will be given a certificate to display, although it is not compulsory.
The scores vary from 0 to 5 with 5 being very good.
Options available to businesses
A food business has 3 options available to them following receipt of their rating: an appeal, a right to reply and a request for a rescore. These are as follows:
- as the food business operator of the establishment you have a right to appeal the food hygiene rating given following your inspection if you do not agree that the rating reflects the hygiene standards and management controls found at the time of the inspection
- you have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date of receipt of the notification letter to lodge an appeal
- the Lead Officer for Food Safety will review your rating and tell you the outcome of your appeal within 21 days.
Right to reply
- as the food business operator of the establishment you have a right to reply in respect of the food hygiene rating given following your inspection
- the intention is to allow you to explain subsequent actions you have taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer
- your comments will be reviewed by the food safety officer and may be edited to remove offensive or defamatory remarks before being published online and displayed together with your food hygiene rating on the Food Standards Agency website.
- there will be a statement on the Food Standards Agency website that will highlight that the accuracy of your comments has not been verified by local authority officers.
Request a re-rating
- as the food business operator of the establishment, you have a right to request a re-visit for the purposes of re-rating if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection
- There is a charge for this re-visit. There is no limit on the number of requests you can make but the charge will apply each time
- a request for a re-rating can be made. You must provide details of the improvements made with your request, including supporting evidence where appropriate
- the re-visit will be carried out within a maximum of three months following the receipt of your request and payment of the fee
- applications will only be accepted and deemed valid once payment has fully cleared
- the inspecting Officer will give you a new food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance that is found at the time of the unannounced re-visit – you should be aware that your rating could go up, down or remain the same.